The Gardener’s Dirt June 2009
Information you can dig into.
|North Carolina State University
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
Johnston County Center
2736 NC 210 Highway * Smithfield, NC 27577
| Shawn Banks
| In this Issue
|This newsletter offers timely information for your outdoor living spaces. Addressing the most common questions ranging from container gardening, tree pruning, wildlife management, to fire ant control, insect identification and lawn establishment.|
Controlling Weeds in Summer Lawns
Extension Agent – Consumer Horticulture
I am still in search of the perfect lawn. In my opinion that would be a lawn with no weeds, soft to the touch, nice dark green color, and even growth. I was at a trade show this spring when I thought I’d found just such a lawn. After speaking with the vendor it turned out to be artificial turf. It looked so real it was hard to tell it wasn’t the real thing. It would be perfect for a small area, but not for an entire yard.
Everybody has to fight weeds in their lawn, even me. I thought I was winning the battle last fall, until the winter weeds came in and showed me I was wrong. Now the winter weeds are on their way out, here come the summer weeds again.
This year I am determined to win this battle. What do I plan to do?
The first thing was to take a soil sample and send it off to the soil test lab in Raleigh to be tested. This test is free (technically it is paid for by tax dollars). It has been a few years since the soil was tested the last time. When the soil test comes back, it will tell me what needs to be done in the way of lime and fertilizer.
Adding the required lime and fertilize to my lawn will help it fill in the canopy. I may also need to spray an herbicide to knock down any weeds that have already come up. Warm season grasses like Bermudagrass, Zoysiagrass, or Centipedegrass spread by stolens (above ground stems) and/or rhizomes (below ground stems). This allows them to fill in gaps in the turf canopy. I have Centipedegrass in the front yard and Bermudagrass in the back yard.
Many summer annual weeds, like crabgrass, need sunlight in order to germinate. Once the lawn has developed a dense canopy, few weeds will be able to penetrate it.
I went to this really cool website called TurfFiles. It was put together by the NC State University Agronomy Department, specifically the people who deal with turfgrass. There is a ton of really great information on this site. There I found Lawn Maintenance Calendars for each type of grass grown in NC. These calendars have information on when to fertilize, what height to mow, and everything else needed to grow the perfect lawn.
Another great feature on TurfFiles is the turf and weed identification tool. This tool helps identify what weed you have by the plants characteristics. By identifying the weeds I can better target my control measures to eliminate that weed.
I am hoping that a happy, healthy lawn will choke out the weeds for me this year. Of course that may mean a lot more mowing grass. Oh well, I can use the exercise, and my lawn area really isn’t all that large.
For more information on weed control in turfgrass, contact the Johnston County Master Gardeners at 989-5380 or email@example.com.
Brugmansia plant in flower
Burgmansia with a
|A small tree growing 6-15 ft in container and 35 ft in ground has softly hairy young stems, leaves, flower, and fruit. The leaf is ovate shaped and entire to coarsely toothed. Brugmansia has a wide range of leaf forms and individual growth habits.
Large flowers (5-6.5 in.) are nodding. The fruit is 2.5 to 3.5 inches long with a round to egg-shaped appearance. It will flower continually through the growing season and self-pollinates. You must be PATIENT with them, allowing time for the plant to reach maturity before blooming. The flower has a wide range of sizes, forms, shapes, and colors that can change drastically in appearance from one growing environment to the next.
Do NOT put them in full sun. They do best when there is a lot of room for roots to grow. Brugmansia grow best when using lots of ‘seasoned’ water (seasoned means it has sat in a bucket for at least 24 hours to let any chemicals evaporate), not tap water. If you see significant wilting, have pale foliage, and/or your plant seems stressed or unhappy, try less sun.
The plant tolerates light frost and drought. This tropical plant will over-winter in our area most years if given some protection in the form of leaves or mulch pilled around the base of the plant. They will die back to the ground, but will usually come back from the ground each spring.
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|June 25 – Summer Training and Pruning Workshop at the Central Crops Research Station, 13223 US 70 Business, Clayton from 6:30pm until 8:00pm. Call 989-5380 to let us know you are coming.
Japanese beetle grub
with milkey spore disease
Japanese beetle adult
Japanese beetles are about 1/2 inch long. They are colored a shiny, metallic green with coppery brown wing covers that extend almost to the tip of the abdomen. Small tufts of white hairs occur at the tip of the abdomen and along each side. As the beetles eat flowers and foliage they leave only a lacy network of leaf veins. The beetles feed on over 275 different species of shade and fruit trees, shrubs, flowers, small fruits, garden crops, and weeds.
Grubs are about 1 inch long when mature. Japanese beetle grubs have two rows of spines, which form a “V” on the underside of the last abdominal segment, which distinguish it from other beetle grubs found in turf. The beetle grubs feed on the roots of grasses and shrubs. Japanese beetle grubs occur in lawns where they burrow through the soil consuming roots. When large numbers of grubs are present, areas of dead grass may appear, especially during dry spells in September or early October.
Adult Japanese beetles emerge as early as mid May in eastern North Carolina. Peak emergence occurs in July. There is only one generation each year. Dusting or spraying foliage with pesticide can protect flowers and ornamental plants.
For a list of susceptibility of certain woody ornamentals to Japanese beetle damage see the Mississippi State study.
TREES, SHRUBS & ORNAMENTALS
HELPING PEOPLE PUT KNOWLEDGE TO WORK.
Got Questions? We’ve got answers!
If you have a gardening issue you would like to see addressed in this newsletter please let me know I will do what I can to get you the information you need. Contact me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (919) 989-5380.
The Johnston County Master Gardener Volunteers are available Monday, Wednesday, or Friday from 1 to 4 pm to answer questions as well. They can also be contacted by phone at (919) 989-5380 or by e-mail at email@example.com
|Past Newsletters||Johnston County Lawn and Garden|